However, there is a soup I make this time of year especially that I just LOVE and really wanted to share it with you all. I will do my best to share measurements, but never be afraid to just get in the kitchen and wing it - I do it all the time and haven't killed (or poisoned) my family yet!
First, I gather my ingredients. In this case, I was kinda cleaning out the pantry and fridge and ended up with:
a tablespoon of minced garlic (I loooovvveee garlic!)
a drizzle of olive oil (like, maybe a few tablespoons)
2 stalks of celery
a box of sliced mushrooms
a few handfuls of fresh baby spinach (but you could use frozen, too)
some summer squash I froze from my garden
a jar of canned tomatoes, also from the garden
a half bag of frozen green beans (NOT from my garden)
a few potatoes
some wine (because it goes with everything - you may pour a glass of it and sip as you cook AND add it to the soup...I do...)
a container of chicken broth (but you can use veggie broth if you want. I had some homemade in the freezer, but I didn't feel like thawing it)
a can of red kidney beans (but you can use any kind of bean - I like to add it for extra fiber and protein)
sea salt, pepper and some Italian blend herbs
A big, round loaf of Italian peasant bread
Ok, chop up the onion and celery. Drizzle some olive oil in the pan and turn up the heat - make the oil HOT. Add the minced garlic, stir a moment, then add in the celery and onion. Turn the heat down and let the veggies soften and brown a little bit, stirring often (this makes the house smell delicious and everyone wanders down to the kitchen to find out what's cooking...):
Here's my pretty little jar of summertime! =) I'm very proud of it!
Next comes the wine and broth. Pour in the broth, then add about a 1/2 cup of white wine (really, any wine will do. Remember, I haven't killed my family yet...)
Add a bit of pepper and sea salt - I eyeball it, but I'd say about 1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon of each:
Next I pour in the tomatoes, juice and all. These are whole tomatoes, but very soft, so I stir the pot and break up the tomatoes a little.
Then I bring it to a boil. Once it is boiling,
I add in the potatoes:
I bring to a boil again for a few minutes (like 5 or 10), then add in the green beans:
and frozen summer squash (also proud of these as they came from my garden!)
I rinse the beans
and add them to the pot, then bring to a boil once more
While I'm waiting for it to boil, I clean up the kitchen. My mom got me this nifty little bag dryer thingy. I love chickens and I adore the colors of this! It dries bags nicely, too.
Mmmmmm! Can you smell that??? Once it begins boiling, I turn it down to a gentle simmer and let it simmer for 10-20 minutes, until the veggies are sort of al dente. I like to put a top on but not on all the way so steam escapes (or it will boil over) because I don't want it to reduce - I want to keep it juicy!
The last five minutes or so, I add in a few handfuls of fresh baby spinach:
and about a tablespoon (or a little less) of Italian blend herbs:
Just looking at this makes me hungry!!
Finally, pour it in a bowl, pour a glass of wine (optional), cut you a slice of Italian panne and ENJOY! (on a bit of a side note, the bread is very taste torn into large chunks and added to the soup)